NZIFF 2009: Home

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(dir Yann Arthus-Bertrand | France | 2009 | 95mins/120 mins)

Review by Hugh Lilly

Financed by French multinational conglomerate PPR, Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s global-warming documentary Home is quite different to most others; for one thing, the entire film is available free online. (It was available on YouTube until July 15th; LegalTorrents is one of many sites still hosting the film.)

Less cloying and sentimental than Disney’s Earth (which was culled from the BBC series Planet Earth) the film has more in common with Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi trilogy than it does Richard Attenborough’s thickly-narrated exposés of the natural world.

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Narrated by Glenn Close, Home looks at the impact humans are having on the planet, and pairs already well-known statistics (20% of the world’s population uses 80% of its resources) with new information about the state of trade around the world, and amazing shots unseen anywhere else, captured in staggering high-definition.

The film looks at different cities around the world—New York, Dubai, Las Vegas, LA, Shenzen, Mumbai and Tokyo—and examines the ways in which we as a species are harming the planet, and each other.

Alongside doom-and-gloom factoids (the US spends 20 times more on its military than it does foreign aid; by the year 2050 it is expected that there will be 200 million ‘climate refugees’) Home concludes with an optimistic outlook: information about various forms of renewable energy, education about global warming, and international co-operation on and environmental issues.

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